I hope you found yesterday’s post regarding Kindness, Keepsakes, and Keywords to be helpful. If you just joined this journey, be sure to take the time to go back and read from the beginning. Without delay, let’s get to it and discuss the letter “L”.
Laughter, Learning, Leisure
It is said that “Laughter is the best medicine.” Think about it. When you’re engaged in laughter, do you feel unhappy? Of course not! Engaging in loud and boisterous laughter, bent over in half, with tears running down your face; now that is funny! Have you ever thought about why laughter is so beneficial?
According to the WebMD website, laughter can effect the body in the following ways:
- Blood flow – laughter helps your blood vessels function better. The increased blood flow from laughing causes vessels to relax and expand which promotes good heart and brain health.
- Immune response – the ability to use humor may raise the level of infection-fighting antibodies in the body and boost the levels of immune cells.
- Blood sugar levels – some studies have shown that engaging in activities which cause laughter and humor will decrease blood sugar levels.
- Relaxation and sleep – laughter is thought to assist with longer and deeper levels of sleep.
- Pain levels – studies of people in pain or discomfort have found that when they laugh they report that their pain doesn’t bother them as much.
Researchers and scientists haven’t been able to conclude exclusively that laughter alone contributes to all of these health benefits. However, laughter definitely affects you in a positive way to help you feel happier. Don’t take my word for it, take a look at this video. Notice how you feel now, during, and after.
There are two different aspects of learning that you may find helpful in elevating your mood. Learning to use different tools to manage your emotions effectively can be extremely helpful. Many of these tools you have read about in previous posts. They include affirmations, breathing, driving, giving, joking, journaling, and others.
All of these are known as ‘distractions.’ You distract yourself from unwanted thoughts and feelings by focusing on something else. This coping strategy can be extremely powerful and helpful. It is, however, important to remember not to use this tool as a long-term coping mechanism.
You need to confront the thoughts and feelings you are struggling with in order to achieve long-term happiness. And hopefully, you will find your why and how to happiness from doing so. But in the meantime, these distraction techniques can offer some much-needed relief from your unhappiness.
The second way to use learning as a path to happiness is the actual act of learning. In our world of modern technology, it is easier than ever to enroll in a class, take a college course or attend numerous free lectures, to name a few. Is there a person, place or thing that interests you? Is there something you have always wanted to try or do? What’s holding you back?
If, for whatever reason, you are unable to attend a class or event, look at what is available to you online. Take some time and peruse Pinterest and Youtube, to name a few. There are endless opportunities available to you. Being engaged in learning is not only a fantastic coping mechanism but it also can attribute to improved physical and mental health.
What do you think of when you see the word leisure? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s definition for English language learners states leisure is, “Time when you are not working. Time when you can do whatever you want to do. Enjoyable activities that you do when you are not working.”
Doesn’t that sound wonderful?! It should! In our time-challenged world and frantic personal schedules, most people don’t take opportunities to “do whatever you want to do.” Isn’t it about time you do this? Not only are there countless benefits for you, but how you feel also has a significant impact on the people around you. When you’re happy, the people around you get infected with your happiness ‘bug’ as well.
I can hear you already, “I don’t have time. I don’t have any money. I don’t have a childcare. I don’t, I don’t, I don’t.” I know how it feels. So, let’s look at some leisure activities that you may not have thought about.
- Open mic opportunities
- Gallery openings
- Free concerts
- Museums and art galleries
- Hobby clubs & events
- Free community events
- Local day-trips
- Park visits
- Take a tour
- Biking, hiking, kayaking
- Elder Hostels
These are just some examples of leisure activities. If you’re anything like me, waking up late, staying in my pajamas, curled up on the couch and reading a good book is a great source of leisure! Find something that works for you, both physically and financially. Whatever you choose to do, stay in the moment and be happy.
As we continue this journey together, I encourage you to keep reading. If you have yet to find your own how or why to happiness, I strongly believe you will. Please come back tomorrow as we explore the letter “M”.